Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Training : Where + When : Part 1

My knees bother me every time after I have a baby as the relaxin leaves and my body tries to line itself back up again.  I had lateral releases on both knees after the first baby and on the right knee because it had scarred back together after the second baby.  After the third baby I sat around like a slug because I didn't want to deal with it.  After number four I wanted to try some physical therapy to realign my right knee.  Getting a prescription for insurance to cover it proved ridiculously difficult and my (former) primary care doctor was insisting on an MRI to make sure nothing else was wrong.  I balked at what I deemed a needless test, she refused the prescription for physical therapy.  I decided to strengthen my knee on my own.  The exercises I'd learned in post-surgery rehab all seemed to make my knee hurt acutely while I did them.  That left me with walking to try for functional strength.

We went to the gym.  I walked a 25 minute mile on the treadmill with my husband cheering me on.  I felt both ridiculously embarrassed that he was lauding such a tiny accomplishment and proud that I'd done it.  While I prefer to walk outside, I really dislike pushing the jogging stroller.  Our gym has incredible child care and I have a 45-minute gap in my mornings twice a week between dropping off the older kids at school and dropping off the third at preschool.  Most Tuesdays and Thursdays find me here, back where it all began.

It's not the most exciting workout, but it gets in some midweek miles.  The best part is that I get to watch the Today Show.  When I lived alone in college, I would turn it on in the morning because my apartment was just too quiet.  My mom joked that Katie, Matt, Ann and Al were my pretend family.  It's the perfect distraction from moving my legs and getting absolutely nowhere.

When it's rainy or when our schedule gets too crazy on the weekends (soccer, birthday parties, fundraising 5k's, parish events, my husband's long runs) and I have to push my workouts into dark hours, I even do my long walks on the treadmill.  This past Sunday I did my first ever ten mile workout on a treadmill.  I forgot my headphones, so I figure it made for some good practice at mental toughness.  Treadmill, you've always got my back when the roads just can't be there for me.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The very beginning -- a very good place to start

Once upon a time I could run.  I was never fast, but I could run.  When I was 26, my knees made me stop.  Two knee surgeries and four kids later, I'd completely given up on myself being athletic.  When my husband started running again, seeing his joy made me want to reclaim mine.  So I walk.  My first mile was on a treadmill and took me 25 minutes.  I've tentatively run a bit, but mostly I walk.  I've even done some races.

Total goofball, I know.  The last 5k I'd done was eight years earlier, so I was more than a bit thrilled when the volunteers held up the tape for me.  That race had a women's tech tank top as the race shirt.  Race shirts have come a long, long way since I last earned one.  I like it so much that I wear that tank every single week.  It got me looking around at what else might be out there.  I found a women's half marathon in December with a generous course limit and set my eyes on the prize.  Not only does the RunGirl 13.1 have a tank top, it also has a medal *and* a necklace.  The only way to get them is to cross the finish line.  After finishing my nine mile walk this weekend at a 14 min/mi pace and having enough energy left to dance in the driveway, I know I am strong enough to get my next tank top.

So why stop at one more tank top?

To celebrate giving myself a second chance at being a recreational athlete, I'm going to do 13 half marathons in 13 months.  I'm still planning and registering, but I've got some women's races, some insanely hot races, an out-of-state race, and even a trail race.  They all have at least a 3.5 hour course limit, so I should be able to finish.  My incredibly supportive husband is completely on board with my wackiness.  He's an ultrarunner now, so pretty much anything sounds reasonable compared with what he's doing.  He'll be taking our very enthusiastic cheering section to these 13 finish lines, so he's a brave man.

I'm sure I'll come across challenges I can't begin to imagine, but I'm ready to take them on.  13 x 13.1 is going to be great.